Nestle India on Thursday told the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) that there was no need to send the Maggi noodles samples for fresh testing as a similar exercise was ordered by the Bombay High Court and the test reports are awaited. As such, it questioned the jurisdiction of the consumer court to adjudicate on the matter once the High Court (HC) has already ruled on the issue.
“We are waiting for the results of the samples from three laboratories as was ordered by the HC in few days. As such what is the need of parallel tests?” Nestle argued before a bench headed by Justice VK Jain.
The company further argued that the apex consumer court has no jurisdiction to hear the government’s class action suit as it amounts to judicial indiscipline. It said that the Maggi issue is covered under the Food Safety and Standards Act which in itself is wide enough to provide for resolution of disputes, thus the Consumer Protection Act is not required to be brought in.
Citing HC which had set aside the countrywide ban on Maggi, Nestle had sought the Commission to recall its earlier order allowing the government to collect and send samples of its popular Maggi noodles to an “accredited laboratory” for tests on lead content and MSG.
The HC had lifted the ban on the sale of nine various instant noodle brands and ordered fresh tests in three separate labs to ascertain that the products complied with the country’s food safety norms.
The NCDRC is hearing the government’s suit demanding over R640 crore for unfair trade practice for selling “defective and hazardous goods” and punitive damages, including interest at the rate of 18% per annum.
The firm’s failure to disclose the presence of risk-increasing ingredients was deceptive and misleading, the complaint filed through the consumer affairs department said, while accusing Nestle India of promoting noodles containing excessive lead as healthy with the sole aim of enhancing profits.